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    Anne Cahuzac
    French dna not found?Answered
    Question posted November 12, 2015 by Anne CahuzacLevel 1 
    5196 Views, 18 Comments
    Title:
    French dna not found?
    Summary:
    French dna not found?
    Content:

    On paper, I'm 3/4 French (1/2 from Brittany, 1/4 from Moselle), and 1/4 unknown. On Ancestry I'm 79% european (56% from Great Britain, 11% Ireland, 5% Iberian peninsula, 4% Italy/Greece, 3% Finland and some traces) and 20% from Africa (Benin, Togo).  

    How can Ancestry not see me as French at all? Is it because they don't have a lot of French samples? is there a way to tell them so they can improve accuracy?

    PS : I have the same problem on gedmatch.

    Best Comment

    Liz Crane

    Their names are a bit misleading--they often tried to give areas names that relate to current countries, but the boundaries don't match exactly if you look at the maps.  Some other companies that do these sort of tests try to name their regions a little more generically, but it's really the same situation with all of them.  

    In the case of the area including countries like France, Germany, etc they just aren't able to distinguish anyone well enough to even try to call an area France, Germany, etc.  My guess is that will not likely improve much in the future--the reality is that due to historical migrations the people in those areas just aren't genetically distinct enough from people in neighboring areas that they'll ever be able to distinguish them.  There are cases in other parts of the world where they may just not have an adequate size reference database (the various Asian regions for example) so if they acquire more reference samples from those areas they might eventually be able to get some tighter breakdowns, but they already have a good size reference database of western Europeans, and getting a bunch more French, German, British, etc people in the reference database most likely is not going to enable them to distinguish them because they just aren't different enough.

    Comment

     

    • Liz Crane

      There is no category for French ethnicity.  It's a nationality, not an ethnicity, and French people from a DNA perspective aren't different enough from British, German, etc to be able to separate them.  Even the areas that they do attempt to separate (Great Britain, Ireland, Europe West, etc) have a ton of overlap.  So look at the maps that go along with the various regions you did get, and you will probably find that ~3/4 of them can be found in/near France.  

      • Anne Cahuzac

        I know that, just like English or Irish are nationalities. The same goes for African countries. How can they say someone is from Togo or Nigeria and not Cameroon? If their categories overlap larger areas than the country they name, why put an etiquette saying the name of a country? Since they do try to separate Great Britain from Ireland, and Togo from Nigeria (for example) is it not possible to have the same with France (or other countries)? I know that with France being in the middle, it's "overlapped" from everywhere, but if they put categories, can't they be consistent? My real problem is that there are some very precise categories (great!) and some are very large and vague (too bad for you!). Is Ancestry planning to improve that at all?

        • Liz Crane

          Their names are a bit misleading--they often tried to give areas names that relate to current countries, but the boundaries don't match exactly if you look at the maps.  Some other companies that do these sort of tests try to name their regions a little more generically, but it's really the same situation with all of them.  

          In the case of the area including countries like France, Germany, etc they just aren't able to distinguish anyone well enough to even try to call an area France, Germany, etc.  My guess is that will not likely improve much in the future--the reality is that due to historical migrations the people in those areas just aren't genetically distinct enough from people in neighboring areas that they'll ever be able to distinguish them.  There are cases in other parts of the world where they may just not have an adequate size reference database (the various Asian regions for example) so if they acquire more reference samples from those areas they might eventually be able to get some tighter breakdowns, but they already have a good size reference database of western Europeans, and getting a bunch more French, German, British, etc people in the reference database most likely is not going to enable them to distinguish them because they just aren't different enough.

    • Robin

      French ancestry is usually categorized as Europe West, however it can also be found under the categories called Iberian, Great Britain, Italy/Greece, Scandinavian, and even Ireland. I see you have results in almost all these categories so your results are not hugely surprising. The fact that Gedmatch is consistent with Ancestry.com is very telling - it just means the DNA from your French ancestors is more similar to people from Britian, Ireland, Iberia, and the Mediterranean, rather than with the Germanic origins of many French people. Europe is a very mixed bag.

    • Dee Flint

      You also have to keep in mind the tremendous amount of traffic back and forth between Great Britain and France beginning in ancient Roman times and continuing today.  France was a cross roads of sorts so your results are not surprising.

      The African tribes are not as mixed and remained semi-isolated for a longer time than the Europeans so it is easier to break that down.

      The choice of names of the ethnicities is somewhat arbitrary.  To use something more descriptive would mean the use of names that would mean nothing to the target audience.

    • Alison M.

      Thanks all for your explanations. They make sense. But I'm still scratching my head because I have about 400 years of French Canadian ancestry and my results came back with less than 1% Europe West. It's true that their ancestors may have migrated from Italy/Greece (the most significant region for my results), but the fact that the test picked up almost no "Europe West" DNA is mind boggling. Also, my test results came back in about three weeks, not the 6-8 advertised - which normally would be great, except now I'm wondering if there was a mix up at the lab.

      • Robin

        The ethnicity can be more representative of about 1000 years ago, not just 400. Over at FTDNA, I have 0% British Isle results even though I know have multiple English and Scots-Irish branches, some of which go back to the 16th century. All my "British DNA" is just being mostly categorized as Scandinavian instead (which is very inflated at 34% when I only have one Scandinavian great-grandparent). What it suggests is that my British ancestors were very influenced by Vikings.

        The 6-8 weeks is just an exaggerated estimate, most tests come back sooner in my experience.

    • Liz Crane

      I have yet to hear of any confirmed cases of lab mixups.  They quote the 6-8 wk turnaround because in January when everyone's sending in the kits they got for Christmas, it does actually take that long (or almost that long).  Rest of the year unless they ran a gigantic sale, 3 wks sounds pretty typical.

      The reality is there's a ton of overlap between regions of Europe.  The original poster's French seems to have wound up mostly as Great Britain, yours if your ancestors were from a little different area of France than hers I could see getting classified as Italy/Greece instead--it also overlaps.  Instead of focusing on the names they gave the regions, I'd click on each one and look at the maps.  I expect you'll find that if you look at the entire region over which a particular "flavor" of DNA occurs, it'll overlap with areas where you know you have ancestry.

      My mother is (on paper) about 3/4 German, Swiss, and Austrian (all of which you would think should show up as Europe West).  But no, she came back as 70% Great Britain (more than the typical Great Britain native).  I have 19% Scandinavian even though I have no Swedish, Norwegian, etc ancestors.  Same thing happens with other areas, there's just too much overlap and the names can be misleading if you focus on them instead of the maps.

    • Grande_Alessandro

      French ancestry is typically categorized as "Europe West" as other posters have stated.  That said, Europe is very blended together and there is a great deal of DNA overlap between adjacent regions, and France in particular is a crossroads country between Northern, Southern, and Western Europe.  There is Celtic (the original Gauls), Germanic (Franks, Burgundians, Normans, and others), and Mediterranean (Romans, Greeks, Iberians) influences in France.  This is reflected in the fact that the French say things like "Our ancestors the Gauls," have a name that's derived from the Franks ("France" is from "Francia," which in Latin meant "Land of the Franks"), and speak a Latin-derived language coming from the Romans. 

      I would argue that France may be the only country in Europe where people who look like anything from very Scandinavian to very Sicilian/Greek would all easily pass for native Frenchmen.  So in addition to the more typical Europe West DNA of France (itself probably mostly reflective of the Gauls/Celts), you have a good deal of Scandinavian, Great Britain/Ireland, Italy/Greece, and Iberian Peninsula DNA in France too.   

    • anthony parker

      Another possibility is that as of right now, while there is certainly more  European reference population samples than reference  samples from African, Asian, Native American,etc. populations on ancestry.com, there still needs to be more reference population samples added to the ethnicity test. 

      • Liz Crane

        That could of course help in some cases, but in many cases there just aren't enough differences between people from neighboring areas of Europe to be able to accurately distinguish them even if you had a lot more samples.  Nationalities are not the same as ethnicities, so with France for example (since that was the original question posed here) I highly doubt they'll ever be able to distinguish them vs people from neighboring countries since genetically speaking there just aren't that many differences.

    • Bill H

      When anyone mentions their paper trail as indicative of their ethnicity I fall back upon the enormity of the numbers. If you have 10 generations completely  traced on paper, that takes you through your 8th great grandparents of which you have some 1000 (one thousand) and takes you back only about 250-300 years. There are not many of us who can say we have all 1000 plus documented on paper. If we have even 10% undocumented there is a large chance of different ethnicities involved due to all the other reasons cited. And if you want to go back several hundred years more as Ancestry suggests, you must double that number of ancestors for each generation. That is a paper trail almost impossible to complete.

      Bill

      PS: Of course, someone will remind me of "collapse" which is what happens at some points due to the same person being your ancestor in more than one line. This means you will have fewer than the theoretical maximum number at a given generation.

      • Jeff Zupan

        Hey, Bill, don't forget about population collapse. laugh

        For those who don't know what that is, it can be illustrated most simply by considering the geometric progression of doubling the number of ancestors each generation.  Somewhere around the year 1300, each of us had more ancestors than there were people on earth.  And going back even farther, to Great Grandpa Charlemagne in about 800,  we each had more ancestors than the total number of homo sapiens who have EVER lived. 

    • Theresa Carlson

      This kind of answers my similar question.  But........one side of my husband's ancestors were from Quebec and all have VERY French first and last names.  He also shows no French DNA. I'm wondering how last names fit into all of this.

      • Liz Crane

        There is no such thing as French DNA in Ancestry's test (or probably anyone else's). What regions did you end up with?  I'd expect French would probably show up as some combo of Europe West, Great Britain, Iberian Peninsula...possibly other neighboring areas as well. 

      • RickLarsonCT

        If you look at the maps for Iberia and Italy/Greece they extend well into Southern France.  Great Britain extends into Northern France.  I am 1/8 French Canadian and that mainly shows up as Europe west for me, but there is a trace of Iberia and Italy/Greece.  It might just be the reverse for you.

      • Dee Flint

        Names mutate faster than DNA !  My husband had an ancestor with the last name Vachub.  By the time they had been here a couple of generations, it had changed to Walkup. It also appears under other variations such was Wauchope.  My husband is descended from another man by two different routes.  In one line the last name was Meadows and in the other it mutated to Meadors.

        People or their neighbors often "converted" the names to match the local version.  Then that version somehow was the one that "stuck" down through the generations without reverting back to the original.

        The "drift" in names can be a fascinating study in its own right.

        • Theresa Carlson

          The names really interest me.  I always think the immigrants must have wanted so much to be Americans that they didn't care if their names were changed! 

    • Theresa Carlson

      Yes he has 4% Europe West, 19% Great Britain and 1% Iberian Peninsula.  I guess that's where it comes from!